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Dear Pharma Veterans. This series of Blogs is to share my learning about Pharma Business in Pakistan. It will be a series spread over several parts covering the entire spectrum of Pharma business.
Pharma Business – Marketing – MARKETING LOOP
In Part 6, I wish to take up the importance of MARKETING LOOP.
Marketing is a 360-degree activity. The available INFORMATION is ANALYZED. STRATEGY is formed. EXECUTION PLAN (TACTICAL PLAN) is chalked out. IMPLEMENTATION is done. FEEDBACK is received from customers, consumers, distributors. INFORMATION is passed on to Marketing. This is again ANALYZED and so the LOOP continues.
As you see, if there is a break at any point, the loop will be broken, and marketing activity will not remain wholesome and holistic and will not bring desired results. Let us see where the loop can likely be broken.
First is INFORMATION. Many marketers do not have adequate access to market data. IMS (now IQVIA) is the most authentic source but is subscribed by limited number of companies. For those who do not have access to IMS data, I recommend ‘gleaning’ internet and gather bits and pieces of information to have some idea of the market size. Next comes the question of competitors. This is easier. The number of products available on the market with prices can be taken from Pharmaguide (Print or https://epharmaguide.com ) , Drug Information System (http://druginfosys.com). Pharmacy availability of most medicines can be checked on line from pharmacy portals such as http://sehat.com.pk. For knowing competitors’ activities, small-scale market survey should be conducted.
The bottom line is that the scarcity or lack of INFORMATION should not become a disability.
Next is ANALYSIS. Broad purposes of analysis include, but may not be limited to:
- Market Dynamics – what drives the market? Who drives the market? Who are the key players?
- Which Strength to focus more upon (if there is more than one)?
- Which indication to focus upon (if there is more than one)?
- Key Customers or KOLs (Key Opinion Leader)
- High-potential areas
The more in-depth and accurate is the ANALYSIS, more predictable will be the outcome. Many times, the analysis is shallow or incomplete which impacts the later stages of the loop.
Next comes STRATEGY. Somehow the word ‘STRATEGY’ has been associated with something awesome, or awful, depending upon how you look at it. It is taken as something akin to composing music or creating a masterpiece in any art form. We need to seriously disagree with such notions. Strategy should be simple and practical.
If a marketer Strategizes that she/he will focus mainly on suburban areas, small hospitals and private clinics, there is nothing wrong with it. STRATEGY is a combination of your vision about destination and the road map to reach there. A 0% growth may be as important in some case as 50% in another case. A high-cost strategy is not necessarily more respectable than a low-cost one. What makes a strategy respectable is its adequacy. Any STRATEGY is fine as long as it tells you where to go and how to reach there. Poor, Unfocused, Unclear strategies hurt the entire marketing activity.
EXECUTION PLAN or TACTICAL PLAN is easy when the strategy has been finalized. You just take the roadmap from the strategy, add resources, timelines, and responsibilities and your tactical plan is done. A tactical plan must be so straightforward and clean that anyone should be able to take it and execute it without having to ask anyone. Secondly, a tactical plan is to be executed, and there should be no compromise on its execution.
Whatever is experienced in the marketplace comes back to marketing as FEEDBACK. It is INFORMATION which needs to be ANALYZED again thereby completing the LOOP.
Feedback is the least done in Pharma despite efforts to enforce and reinforce it. I think it is time to incentivize feedback. Whosoever brings the best information from the market should be rewarded.